Theodoor Rutgers

Founder and Director

Theodoor Rutgers is the co-founder of DDF services, now known as Catalyze. Theodoor raised >100 million Euro in subsidies and grant for different types of organizations, and has been involved in the start-up of several early stage (life science) companies.

Jalal Es-Sbai

Founder and Director

Jalal Es-Sbai is a co-founder of DDF Services, now known as Catalyze. Jalal Es-Sbai has raised >100 million Euro in subsidies and grants for different types of organizations. Jalal specializes in business development and financing strategies for innovative companies in multiple sectors (life sciences, energy, valorization and technology).

Quirein te Roller

Commercial Director

As Commercial Director, Quirein is responsible for all Sales and Business Development operations, both in The Netherlands and abroad. Within Catalyze, he leads the Marketing & Communication activities as well as the Strategic Funding Unit.

Kirsten van Benthem

Commercial Manager

Kirsten van Benthem is the Commercial Manager at Catalyze. She uses her experience and expertise in Pharma and FMCG in order to manage departments Business Development, Marketing & Communication, Contract Management, and Strategic Funding Unit.

Virginia Ballota, PhD

Country Manager Switzerland / Business Developer

Virginia Ballotta is a Business Developer at Catalyze. She is located in Basel, Switzerland, and is the reference contact for all customers in Switzerland, Italy and France.

Annika van Rosmalen

Account Manager / Business Developer

Annika van Rosmalen advices biotech companies and life sciences researchers on the best funding opportunities for their R&D projects. Annika uses her knowledge of – and strong network in – the biotech industry to expand Catalyze’s client portfolio, both on a national and European level.

Neeltje Ramnath-Willems

Manager Agri, Food and Bio-Economy

Neeltje has a passion for helping people and companies bring their innovative and disruptive ideas, research, products and solutions closer to the market and to patients. This means help them build strong collaborations, a network of trust, a sound business strategy and acquiring the necessary funding to achieve all this.

Wouter Nuytinck

Account Manager / Business Developer

Wouter combines his scientific background with his sales and account manager experience within the life science industry. He is passionate about carrying innovative ideas forward and helping companies and researchers in bringing their technologies to the market.

Nawal Bahia El Idrissi, PhD

Account Manager / Business Developer

Nawal completed two Master programs Biomolecular Sciences and Management and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences at the VU University in Amsterdam. Subsequently, she was awarded a personal grant from the NWO and started her PhD at the Academic Medical Center where she studied the immune mechanisms involved in tissue damage in neurological diseases.

Mats Owehand

Business Developer

Mats is a Business Developer at Catalyze and combines his account manager experience with his educational background in Life Sciences. A passion for networking and a strong interest in Life Sciences are his key drivers to bring innovative ideas to life.

Stijn Hertel

Contract Manager

Stijn is planning to obtain his LLB in Dutch Law at the Hague University of Applied Sciences next academic year. He joined the co-determination committee for his program 3 years ago and during this time developed a preference for working in an international organization. His goal is to apply his legal background and negotiation skills to benefit Catalyze now and in the future.

Elmieke Boot, PhD

Manager Consultancy

Elmieke Boot is manager consultancy for Catalyze’s Amsterdam office, leading an operational team of currently 12 consultants with the aim to provide optimal and high quality support for our clients in the most effective manner.

Marlene Végh, PhD

Branch Manager

Marlene Végh is Branch Manager at Catalyze and is responsible for Catalyze’s Utrecht and Switzerland offices. In her role, Marlene directs all operational aspects of Catalyze’s Utrecht and Switzerland offices, and is responsible for determining and carrying out strategic plans for our offices, together with the Management Team.

Josta Kevenaar, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Josta Kevenaar obtained her Bachelor’s degree Psychobiology at the UvA and her Master’s degree in Neurosciences cum laude at the VU in Amsterdam while she was continuously active in several committees and boards. Thereafter, she continued her academic career as a PhD-researcher at the department of Cell Biology at the Utrecht University.

Peter van den Berghe, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Peter van den Berghe is working as a Senior Consultant and Cluster Leader at Catalyze. Peter and is team are responsible for assisting our clients in defining their Life Science research and development projects, writing project proposals and establishing competitive international public-private consortia.

Helen Pothuizen, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Helen uses her scientific knowledge and strong research experience (obtained in multiple academic positions) combined with a clear business focus to help build collaborative partnerships in/between academia and industry and to move innovative R&D projects forward. She leads a team of ~5 consultants and enjoys guiding starting consultants. Together with her team, Helen strives to provide you optimal support in establishing the most competitive project applications and ideas.


Patricia Celie

Specialist Senior Consultant

Patricia has a PhD in Life Sciences, and is consultant at Catalyze since 2011. She completed the management and entrepreneurship BioBusiness Masterclass (HollandBio-de Baak; 2013) and Master course Finance for Growth at VU University (2017). At Catalyze, Patricia enabled R&D projects valuing >€35M, with awarded projects in programs including Horizon 2020, its SME instruments, EUROSTARS, EuroTransBio, and EFRD. She has experience in EU-level project management, business cases & plans, and client-tailored assignments. At Catalyze, Patricia helps to develop innovative research, for academia and industry.


Jacinta Nagler

Specialist Consultant

Jacinta joins Catalyze with over 15 years of experience in corporate business development and licensing as a life science professional with her specialty in large pharma, biotech, and startup companies.

Heike Schmidlin, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Lead

eike Schmidlin holds a PhD in immunobiology and for several years has worked in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in technology research consulting. Working with Catalyze since 2014, Heike applies scientific knowledge, research expertise and industry experience to support clients to raise funding and bring innovations to the market.

Boaz van Driel, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Lead

Boaz van Driel, PhD is the type of consultant that is driven by the envisioned brighter and healthier future that his clients aim to achieve. Because of this drive, it comes easy to fully engage with his clients and co-develop creative and innovative solutions to societal challenges. In the past, he has successfully structured grant applications for large consortia and small start-up companies. At Catalyze, he applies commercial, organizational, and scientific approaches and knowledge to the development of projects, ensuring the right combination of features that maximize the chances of finding your project funded.

Sara Schaafsma, PhD

Senior Consultant

Sara Schaafsma obtained her Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Amsterdam and obtained her PhD degree at the University of Groningen. With the support of two private funding agencies, she then studied the mechanisms underlying autism development at The Rockefeller University in New York. With a Marie Curie individual fellowship, she returned to The Netherlands to continue her research line at the University Medical Center Utrecht. At Catalyze, Sara combines her broad interest in biology with her experience in scientific writing and project management to help clients define their research, develop their projects, write project proposals and establish competitive international public-private consortia.

Peter Ochodnicky, PhD

Senior Consultant/Quality Manager

Peter Ochodnicky is inspired by biomedical innovation from both academic and industrial environment and strives to bring these innovations to life through excellent consulting. He combines support of clients in fundraising with management of internal quality control processes and provides training in grant writing and academia-driven entrepreneurship. He holds PhD in Medical Sciences from University of Groningen and worked previously as senior pharmacologist and regulatory drug documentation assessor.


Rick Kwekkeboom, PhD

Senior Consultant

Rick Kwekkeboom, PhD, has 9 years of experience in setting up, managing, and funding public-private partnerships in life science & health, 4 of which were spent at Catalyze. He was responsible for raising over €20 million of non-dilutive funding for different types of organizations, and strategic planning of (public-)private partnerships. From project intake to project start, Rick pays special attention to the strategic position of an innovation in the market to discover how an innovation can sustainably contribute to equality and a fair society, in addition to being profitable.

Saharla Ahmed

Senior Consultant

At Catalyze, Saharla uses her background in life sciences and translational research to support financing for researchers in academia and SME’s involved in the early stages of product development. Saharla has a MSc in Intellectual Property Law and a BSc in Genetics, from Queen Mary University of London.

Claudia Coomans, PhD

Senior Consultant

Claudia Coomans holds a PhD in endocrinology/neurophysiology from Leiden University Medical Center. By obtaining various (inter)national grants, she financed her line of research at the LUMC. At Catalyze, Claudia combines her broad interest in life sciences with her scientific background and her communication and organization skills to help clients successfully apply for funding for their innovative research.

Sabine Packeiser-Oppedijk, PhD


Sabine obtained her MSc. in the field of medicinal chemistry and drug innovation from the Utrecht University. Her interest in the molecular basis of medicine resulted in the continuing her career as a PhD-researcher in the field of biochemistry and microbiology researching antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance. As a consultant at Catalyze Sabine uses her background in life science to procure funding for innovative research.

Mind Wang, PhD


Ming works with clients to shape their ideas into coherent project concepts, and in turn formats these concepts into compelling and competitive subsidy proposals and business plans. For every project, Ming particularly focuses on strategic positioning, route-to-market/clinic strategies, and on identifying and highlighting the specific uniqueness of the innovation in question. Ming obtained her PhD from Imperial College London, where she worked on developing non-viral vectors for gene therapy.

Max van Zaandvoort


Max van Zandvoort obtained his Master’s degree in Medical Biology with the specialization Science, Management and Innovation at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He combined his background in biology with his passion for business to specialize in the commercial side of Life Sciences. At Catalyze, Max combines his business knowledge and scientific background to help entrepreneurs and researchers obtain financing for the development and commercialization of innovative initiatives.

Reinoud Brenkman


Reinoud Brenkman obtained his Master’s degree in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience with a specialisation in Science, Business and Policy at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. During his Master’s he has participated in several innovative business projects and wrote his thesis about the implications of neuromarketing for online marketing SME’s. As a consultant at Catalyze, Reinoud combines his scientific background with his passion for innovation and business development to help our clients successfully apply for funding for their promising initiatives.

Leanne Schmitz, PhD


Leanne Schmitz obtained her Bachelor’s degree Psychobiology and Master’s degree in Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam. Driven by her interest in neuroscience and molecular biology she continued her academic career as PhD-student at the department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology at the VU University.

Dalila El Ouarrat, PhD


Dalila El Ouarrat PhD studied Biomedical Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, and specialized as a molecular and cell biologist graduating with a MSc from the University of Cambridge UK.

Ester Weijers, PhD


Ester assists clients in the field of Life Sciences in transforming ideas into project applications to raise funding. Ester holds a PhD and is specialized in vascular biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Daniel Cavalli, PhD


Daniel pursued his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biotechnology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and his PhD in Regenerative Medicine at the Technische Universität Dresden. Being passionate about Life Science innovation, Daniel joined Catalyze as a Consultant to take the responsibility of helping his clients achieve the funding necessary to market their innovative technologies.

Esther Stroo, PhD


At Catalyze, Esther Stroo combines her scientific background with her experience in writing scientific grants to facilitate development and funding of innovative research projects.

Simone Gottardi


Simone Gottardi graduated in Medical Biotechnology at Milan University, later he obtained a Master in Innovation Science from Utrecht University. He is driven by the passion for helping businesses in bringing their products to the market. He specializes in building strong relationships with partners and clients.

Benjamin Sieters


Benjamin Sieters studied Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University. During his Master he studied Agile project management principles in a medical R&D environment and performed molecular genetic research in the field of microbiology.

Sedef Iskit, PhD


Sedef Iskit, PhD, is a molecular biologist specialized in cancer research. After finishing her PhD at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Sedef went on to pursue her strong interest in medical communications as a freelance writer. As a Consultant at Catalyze, she is using her strong research and communication skills to help innovative biomedical projects receive the funding they need to improve lives.



Mohammad Tabibi


Mohammad Tabibi obtained his Bachelor degree in Biomedical Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and has successfully completed a Master program in Management and Entrepreneurship within Health and Life Sciences. Mohammad has expert knowledge of theory development and methodology of transdisciplinary research and can integrate insights from different scientific disciplines and other sources of information in Health and Life Science. At Catalyze, Mohammad combines his scientific background, analytical skills and entrepreneurial spirit to bring innovative ideas to the market.

Max Seignette


Max obtained a bachelor degree in Psychobiology at the UvA followed by a master degree in Management, Policy Analysis & Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences (MPA) at the VU. Over the years Max developed a passion for Life Sciences and as a consultant he will help promising business ideas with making their way to the market.

Erik van Tilborg, PhD


Erik van Tilborg obtained his Master’s degree in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University. For his Master thesis, he spent eight months doing neuroscience research at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Erik obtained his PhD degree at the University Medical Center Utrecht, where he managed multiple research projects to develop novel treatments for brain injury in preterm infants. At Catalyze, Erik combines his passion for life sciences and his interest in R&D to assist clients in acquiring funding for innovative projects and constructive collaborations.

Evelyne Klaassen


Evelyne obtained a bachelor degree Biomedical Sciences and a master degree Biomedical Sciences Management at the Leiden University. During her master she gained knowledge in the business side of biomedical and life sciences and she is very motivated to apply this knowledge in her work as a consultant for Catalyze.

Sebastian Schee gennant Halfmann


For Sebastian, working at Catalyze allows him to apply his academic background in European Public Health and innovation in healthcare and ICT to practical scenarios helping clients to realize their ideas and to bring their products successfully to the market.

Carla van Alem, PhD


Carla studied Biomedical Science in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and obtained both her Bachelor and Master’s degree there. She then moved to Leiden to start as a PhD candidate in the fields of nephrology and immunology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Her main focus was on the preclinical evaluation of a novel drug in kidney transplantation.At Catalyze she combines her scientific background, communication and writing skills to raise funding for innovative fundamental and applied research in Life Sciences.

Ashley James


Ashley James obtained her Bachelor of Biomedicine and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering (Distinction) at The University of Melbourne, with a six-month exchange to Delft University of Technology. For her Master thesis she successfully completed the BioDesign Innovation Program, building a business model based on an observed unmet clinical need. At Catalyze, she combines her commercial mindset and passion for innovation in Life Sciences to stimulate our clients’ successful growth in their promising initiatives.

Paul de Vries


After an original education in Molecular Neuroscience, Paul’s interest in entrepreneurship in biotech and medical innovation got sparked early during his career. Now he dedicates himself to supporting other achieve greatness, providing the necessary support for biotech startups to reach the next critical stage in development.


Rizgar Saltik


Rizgar Saltik obtained his bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam followed by a master’s degree in Science and Business Management at the Utrecht University. Parallel to his studies he developed a strong entrepreneurial background with a specialization in validation methodologies for tech startups. At Catalyze, Rizgar combines his scientific and entrepreneurial background to bring innovative products to the market.

Doron Gollnast, PhD


Originally from Germany, Doron studied biology at the University of Bremen. He moved to the Netherlands 8 years ago for his PhD in a biochemical research group at the Utrecht University where he studied protein folding of influenza hemagglutinin subtypes. Afterwards, Doron did a 3-year postdoc in immunology at the UMC Utrecht, where he studied inhibitory immune receptors, aka checkpoint inhibitors in cancer immunotherapy.

Sandy Broere-Lee, PhD


Sandy obtained her PhD in Pharmacology from Monash University in Australia after completing her bachelors with honors at the University of Melbourne. She then moved to the US to do her Post-doc training at Yale University, and has been living in the Netherlands for several years where she now joined Catalyze as a consultant in our Utrecht office.

Frederike Müskens, PhD


Frederike obtained her BSc (chemistry) and MSc (Drug Innovation) from the University of Utrecht. While her initial focus was on organic chemistry, during an internship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla (CA) she gained experience with molecular biology. This led to her pursuit of an interdisciplinary PhD shared between an organic chemistry group and a molecular pharmacology group at the University of Glasgow.At Catalyze she aims to utilize her broad background in the life sciences to secure funding for our partners in this field.

Luc Schoppink


Luc Schoppink obtained two Master degrees, in Neurosciences and Life Science Based Management and Entrepreneurship, at the VU University of Amsterdam. During his studies he was involved in several scientific and business oriented research projects and has developed a keen interest in the field of Life Sciences from an entrepreneurial perspective. As a consultant at Catalyze, Luc combines his scientific and business background to take innovations forward and help bring new ideas to the market.

Peter Groothuis


As an Industrial Design Engineer from the TUDelft with a cum-laude Master’s degree in Management and Innovation from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Peter understands what it takes to develop and commercialize new technologies, services and products . At Catalyze, he aims to make a positive impact on society by helping innovative research get the dilutive and non-dilutive funding it requires to reach the market.

Maurice van Rotterdam


Maurice has a background in Biomedical Science Management from Leiden University. He joined Catalyze at their Amsterdam headquarters, where he will be performing as a consultant. During his Masters program, Maurice developed both scientific and commercial skills which he will apply towards supporting promising scientific ideas making their way to success.

Olav Veldhuizen

Project Manager

Olav Veldhuizen is Project Manager at Catalyze. Olav has a strong background in EU project management and grant writing including FP7, COST Action and IMI2.

Maarten Doornbos

Project Manager, PhD

Maarten Doornbos is project manager at Catalyze. After obtaining his Master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences at Leiden University he did a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). At Catalyze he combines his scientific background with a strong drive to bring innovation forward.

Kristine Stickey

Project Manager

Kristine holds a master’s degree in neurosciences from Vrije Universiteit. She has a background working in project management for both pre-clinical and clinical research companies. At Catalyze, she combines her scientific knowledge and work experience to facilitate successful project delivery.

Mathijs De Kleer

Consultant WBSO

Mathijs has a bachelor and a Master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Leiden. He specialized in Science-Based Business during the end of his Master, combining his understanding of innovative (drug) research with business. As consultant WBSO, he will contribute to the growth of (starting) companies in the life sciences sector.

Tom Dijk

Process Analyst

Tom is a process analyst at Catalyze. In a fast growing company like Catalyze, it is a challenge to keep the processes flexible enough to keep growing but maintain the high quality standards. With an MSc degree in Operations and Supply Chain Management from the University of Groningen, a Black Belt Lean Six Sigma and a passion for process improvement, Tom will opt for the best solutions and focus on continuously improving the process with ‘state of the art technology’.

Aniek Doensen

Funding Advisor

Aniek obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Medicine and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, both at the University of Twente. During her master she focused on bionanotechnology, controlled drug delivery and polymer chemistry.

Yoëlle Schell

Funding Advisor

Yoëlle obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with the specializations neurobiology and immunology at the VU University in Amsterdam. During her Master she studied specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators in multiple sclerosis. As a consultant strategic funding at Catalyze, Yoëlle aims to find the best match between projects and funding opportunities.

Alexandra Marques

Marketing Officer

Alexandra comes from Portugal and has a Master degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Porto. She had a lot of experience in marketing and communications throughout her studies, and found a passion for marketing in life sciences. After graduating she had several professional marketing experiences, and has had specific experience in the funding market. At Catalyze, Alexandra focuses on the professionalization and positioning of Catalyze

Evelyn Demirchian

Marketing Communications Officer

Evelyn obtained her bachelor degree in Mass Communications and Journalism from California State University, Fresno and her sequential bachelor and master degrees in Psychology from Webster University, Leiden. At Catalyze, Evelyn focuses on progressing the story of Catalyze and supporting the professionalization of the company brand.

Bjorn Bouwer

Business Intelligence Specialist

Bjorn is rounding up his BSc in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences and is planning to start a Business related Masters in 2019. He combines his scientific background and his interest in business in his job as a sales assistant at Catalyze. He hopes to contribute to the success of Catalyze and at the same time learn more about the ins and outs of the life science industry.

Wijna Bekker

Corporate Recruiter

Wijna Bekker is corporate recruiter at Catalyze. Wijna is responsible for attracting bright and talented people to facilitate Catalyze’s ambitious growth vision for the coming years.

Inge Phoa

PA / Office Manager

Inge Phoa is PA and office manager at catalyze. She is responsible for the agendas of the directors and makes sure everything is arranged for at the office.

Dorota Rokita

HR Advisor

Dorota Rokita is the HR Advisor at Catalyze. She provides advice and support on all Human  Resources related topics with focus on employee needs and organisational goals. Dorota is interested in understanding employee motivation and psychology. She believes that a pleasant work atmosphere and employee satisfaction are important to make the company successful.

Brian Steur

Financial Controller

Brian Steur is responsible for the monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports of Catalyze. Furthermore, he is responsible for the payments of invoices, salaries and for the payroll taxes employees. He started his financial career in the medical center in Baarn, where he was responsible for the debt administration for ten years. The next five years Brian worked at Meeuwsen Ten Hoopen in Baarn (accountancy company) being responsible for all of their SME clients.

Margreet Singerling

Administration Officer

Margreet Singerling is Administration Officer at Catalyze. She is responsible for incoming and outgoing mail, administrative aspects, and preparing invoices. In addition, she helps preparing the payroll stubs.

Quinty de Ruiter

HR Assistant

Quinty de Ruiter is working as an HR-assistant at Catalyze. She is currently working on her bachelor degree in Human Resource Management and is excited about applying the learned theory in practice. After her bachelor degree she wants to expand her knowledge in psychology.

Pereni Sri Rajitha

Consultancy Intern

Pereni has a Bachelor degree in Life Sciences from the National University of Singapore. During her Biomedical Sciences Management Masters program in Leiden University, she developed an interest for novel and disruptive ideas which she brings to life at Catalyze using her creativity.

Chris Klerks

Sales Assistant

Chris has a bachelor’s degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences from Leiden University. He assists the business developers by generating leads, applying his experience and network from his previous policy related tasks in the off-patent pharmaceutical sector in Brussels.

Peter Schoevers

Founder & Chairman

Peter holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Groningen and IMD. He worked for Solvay Pharmaceuticals for 10 years in international management positions in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Belgium and Japan. Peter has been active as entrepreneur since 1998 and has founded companies such as marviQ, Catalyze and Julius Clinical where he served as CEO from 2007 until 2016. Currently Peter is active as an entrepreneurial investor and non-executive director in several companies.


A must-have if you’re interested in getting your business to the next level